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April 3, 2007 6:20 AM
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HanWay + Celluloid Dreams = Dreamachine; New Combined Company Launching in Cannes

The Marche du Film in Cannes where the new Dreamachine will launch this year. Photo by indieWIRE

A major new sales, production and financing firm with an eye on digital distribution -- dubbed Dreamachine -- has been formed by the merger of HanWay Films and Celluloid Dreams. Hanway's Jeremy Thomas and Celluloid's Hengameh Panahi announced the merger, indicating that the new London, Paris and Toronto based outfit will debut next month at the Marche du Film in Cannes. In an announcement on Tuesday, Dreamachine detailed a high-profile roster of projects and indicated that the combined company's library will include some 500 films. Panahi and Thomas will serve as co-chairs of the new company, with Tim Haslam as CEO.

"Dreamachine's ambition is to build a multi-media business based upon a regular supply of quality cinema," said Haslam in a statement. "Dreamachine unites two very talented teams whose commitment to delivering award-winning films is total and passionate."

Peter Watson, Philippe Aigle, Stephan Mallmann and Charlotte Mickie are on the new company's board. Watson and Mallmann will lead financing and operations in London, while Aigle with handle duties from Paris. In the words of the announcement, "Watson & Aigle will expand Dreamachine's financing role as executive producer, manage and acquire library assets and spearhead the company's strategic plans for new media and digital distribution." As COO, Mallmann will manage the entire group. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Charlotte Mickie will lead a team that will, "pursue a wide-ranging role encompassing co-production, acquisitions and sales for independent North American films."

Recently announced projects on Dreammachine's slate include Gerald McMorrow's "Franklyn" with Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Paul Bettany and John Hurt; Phillip Noyce's "Dirt Music," starring Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell (set to shoot in Australia), and Jon Amiel's new film about Charles Darwin (adapted from Randal Keynes' 2001 book Annie's Box) written by John Collee.

"In Jeremy I have found a like-minded partner with a real passion for movies," said Panahi, in a statement today. "Together we create a totally independent European group acknowledged by great depth of international experience and proven track-record. Celluloid Dreams was known as "The Directors Label" and specialized in discovering unique talents worldwide and building their international career."

Films on its slate when the company debuts in Cannes will include movies expected to screen at the festival and/or its concurrent market. On Dreamachine's Cannes roster are: Alan Ball's "Nothing Is Private" starring Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello and Toni Collette; Paolo Barzman's "Emotional Arithmetic" starring Susan Sarandon, Christopher Plummer, Gabriel Byrne and Max von Sydow; Tom Kalin's "Savage Grace" starring Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne and Stephen Dillane; Asif Kapadia's "Far North" starring Michelle Yeoh and Sean Bean; Harmony Korine's "Mister Lonely" starring Samantha Morton and Diego Luna; Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There" starring Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julianne Moore; Johnnie To, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam's "Triangle" starring Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Sun Honglei and Kelly Lin; Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" voiced by Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands and Chiara Mastroianni among others; and Bille Eltringham's "Mrs. Ratcliffe's Revolution" starring Catherine Tate.

"I originally created HanWay to service the worldwide ambitions of Recorded Picture Company and to make it available to other independent filmmakers," said Thomas in a statment. "Over the last few years HanWay has dramatically expanded upon this aim, and I see Dreamachine as the marriage of two rapidly-evolving companies with the same ambition: The distribution of quality cinema. Hengameh has a wonderful eye for talent with an unrivalled energy and enthusiasm, and we share an abiding love for cinema."

The compay also announced that it has concluded multiple international pre-sales on Julian Jarrold's "Brideshead Revisited" starring Ben Whishaw, Matthew Goode, Hayley Atwell; Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" starring Naomi Watts and Michael Pitt; Arvin Brown's "Hurricane Mary" starring Patricia Clarkson, Elle and Dakota Fanning; Michael Winterbottom's "Genova" with Colin Firth, Katherine Keener and Hope Davis; and Julian Temple's "The Future Is Unwritten - Joe Strummer."

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